How to overcome FOMO in a Pandemic? Suddenly this question popped up in my head yesterday. Most of us experienced anxiety while scrolling on social media seeing pictures of our friend or family meetup or on vacation.
It happens to me, and I wished that I had never looked at it. Sadly, the pandemic made it worst, just because some of us choose to stay at home. But, what to do to deal with FOMO and having a healthy relationship with social media?
What Cause FOMO In The First Place?
Before we’re trying to find a way to overcome FOMO, we should know what FOMO is in the first place. FOMO is the abbreviation of The “Fear of Missing Out,” commonly known as a type of social anxiety that roots from the idea that other people are having fun or experience better things than you.
For the last five years, this term becomes popular due to people’s desire to share every good moment of their lives on social media. Unconsciously, we position ourselves comparing our regular lives to other people’s’ Perfect moments.’ This confuses our consciousness about what is ‘normal’ and what is not, automatically assume that your life is worst.
Nowadays, with social media, you can see other detailed pictures and videos at an event without you, sometimes while it’s still happening. This would be a painful and upsetting thing to see, mostly if you were not aware of it before. Like our parents, generations before us never experienced a feeling like this before, and it hurts more when they don’t understand how you’re feeling.
That’s why FOMO is often overlooked and considered unimportant issues. However, studies from the Centre of Mental Health show that FOMO can be detrimental to your self-esteem and provoke deep resentment feelings. Prolonged exposure to things that incites FOMO can be resulting in more severe issues such as chronic anxiety and depression.
It is vital to overcome FOMO appropriately to avoid the implication.
FOMO In COVID-19 Pandemic
Now, the COVID-19 outbreak put us in a situation where our phones became the leading entertainment option. Based on the data from Statista, during the pandemic, social media usage increased by 44% worldwide.
This means that most of us consuming content on our phones at a dangerous rate.
Even worse, you see influences, friends, even your closes friends posting pictures on Instagram having hidden parties, or maybe holiday abroad. This kind of content makes you feel worse about trying to stay at home and obeying government regulations.
How To Overcome FOMO
1. Distract Yourself
At first, I struggled with FOMO at the beginning of the pandemic around April, and then I saw studies at the University of Pennsylvania about FOMO. The studies say a direct correlation between reducing social media use and a decrease in feelings of loneliness and depression. I tried to reduce 10-minute usage per my social media platform per day for a month, and I saw significant improvement in my mental health and overcome FOMO.
Now I adapted to this method intensively by limiting my apps to 1 hour a day (Using iOS Screen Time Feature). Slowly, I find myself using my phone less unless I use it to reply to messages and emails. I’d say this works quite effectively on me.
Another thing that helped me stay away from my phone was growing my skills. To overcome my FOMO, I write more on my blog (Even though it’s still rarely updated) and honing my Data Science and Machine Learning skills. I’d say for anyone struggling with FOMO, try to indulge yourself in anything you’re passionate about. It’ll distract you from checking your phone, and as a bonus, makes you more productive.
I’ve written about 4 Amazing Ways to Increasing Work From Home Productivity; if you want to increase your productivity, work from home.
You can also try to reaching out to family or friends and maintaining connections with them to help us feel less lonely and increasing our sense of belonging. Try to do video-call to your loved one to help cure loneliness during the lockdown.
2. Be Positive
It might be hard to try to be positive in the middle of a Pandemic like this, consider the pandemic as an opportunity. Opportunity to learn a new skill, spend time with family, improve yourself, or maybe do some hobbies you wanted to do some years ago.
Rather than keep scrolling on social media, it will suck you deeper into a hole of despair and continually bringing up negative feelings. Disassociate yourself from the outside world for a moment, and maybe we can graduate from this pandemic and overcome FOMO with better skill, knowledge, and mentality.
This is probably the most challenging and difficult thing to do to overcome FOMO. We are changing our mindset by changing our perception of what we see on social media. I tried to think that people who are partying or going on a holiday right now are endangering hundreds of people’s lives. By staying at home, we’re taking part in trying to save lives, while our efforts may have a small impact on our community.
It doesn’t mean I spoke publicly about my discontent with them, and I’m just changing a little bit of my perspective without judging them. When I read a piece of news like “647 Petugas Medis Gugur di Indonesia karena COVID-19“, We should be grateful to be able to stay-at-home, and we should help them by stay-at-home—at the same time, trying our best to overcome FOMO.
Eventually, we will return to normal, and in the meantime, we can prepare ourselves better by building our skills, video-call to friends, or maybe binge-watching our favorite TV-Series. Making minor changes and put things in perspective to overcome our FOMO in Pandemic towards healthier mental health.